On March 18, northeast neighbor and nationally renowned chef Jenn Louis closed her flagship Lincoln restaurant at 3808 N. Williams Ave. in the Boise neighborhood. One week later, she opened in the same space with “Ray,” an Israeli-inspired restaurant aiming to capture the atmosphere of an Israeli dinner table and celebrate the country’s diverse culture and culinary traditions.
“I am thankful for all the love and support that our guests at Lincoln have brought over the years,” said Louis. “I’m proud of the delicious food and warm service our team has consistently brought to the neighborhood. I can’t wait to share the new space and menu with everyone.”
Louis has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs,” and her cooking has earned two nominations for a James Beard Foundation award. She opened Lincoln in the Hub building in 2008.
“Naming a restaurant is like naming a child,” said Louis. “With Lincoln, we wanted a strong, sturdy, American name that reflected hospitality and integrity. The same kind of ideology went into naming Ray. The name represents a ray of hope, a vibrant light and a desire to add something positive to the world and make it a better place. Opening a restaurant is a huge undertaking. It’s exhausting but it’s also extremely rewarding.”
Ray’s 75-seat interior showcases exposed beams, cement flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows. Two new communal tables anchor the space, complete with dim sum-style platforms for sharing. A new focal art piece by Jolby Designs on the back wall of the restaurant reads “Welcome” in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
Ray’s seasonal menu is inspired by Louis’ heritage and memories of Israel, including months she spent cooking for a kibbutz community in Arava. Small plates include lamb flatbread with tomato and chili; and fried quail with pomegranate molasses, date and mint. Salads include a tahini caesar and a spring Israeli salad. Larger plates offer skirt steak with harissa and greens; chicken leg hawaij with potatoes and nettles; and a shawarma burger with options to add egg, corned beef, bacon or foie gras. Desserts are available and Ray features a playful cocktail program.
Louis’ debut cookbook, “Pasta By Hand” was published in 2015 and her second book, “The Book Of Greens” came out last month. The 328-page hardcover edition introduces 40 greens in alphabetical order, with recipe ideas for unfamiliar greens that might be discovered at neighborhood farmers markets.
Ray is open for dinner Tuesday to Thursday from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 5:30to 10:00 p.m. A special happy hour menu is offered Tuesday to Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. and brunch service is anticipated to launch this summer.
For more information, call 503-288-6200 or visit www.raypdx.com.